Country Information


Location: Europe
Capital: Paris
Population: 66 million
Currency: Euro
Language: French
Main Religion: Catholic

Hello: Bonjour
Thank you: Merci Beaucoup

Dates in the country

Middle of September 2017


Continental climate (central and eastern France): cold winters (December-April) and hot summers (June-August). Mediterranean climate (south eastern France): warm and dry summers, rainfall from October to April (damp but mild weather).

Public Holidays

  • January 1st New Year’s Day
  • March/April Easter
  • May 1st Labour Day
  • May 5th Ascension Day
  • May 8th VE day
  • May 16th Whit Monday
  • July 14th Bastille Day
  • August 15th Assumption Day
  • November 1st All Saint’s Day
  • November 11th Armistice Day
  • December 25th Christmas Day
  • December 26th St Stephen’s Day


  • Australian and New Zealand passport holders planning a visit to any of the 28 Member States of the EU do not require a visa if their stay is no longer than 90 days in a six month period within the EU.
  • UK Part of the EU


Vaccines advised:

  • Tetanus

Rules of the Road


  • If you are driving a right hand drive car, make sure you have converted the headlights with the stick-on filters. Legally required to have a high visibility jacket and a triangle in your car and use them if you break down.
  • The legal age to drive in France is 18 years.
  • Drive on right side of the road.
  • Carnet is not generally required however a Australian registered car may need one.
  • A spare set of bulbs.
  • Hazard warning triangle. It must be placed at a suitable distance behind a vehicle if it is spotted on the hard shoulder or highway.
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • A first aid kit.
  • A high-visibility waistcoat. It must be carried so driver can get on immediately if he needs to go out of the car.
  • A sticker that indicates a country of car registration.
  • If you have contact lenses, a pair of glasses.
  • At least two breathalyzers (alcohol-level test).

More information:

  • French roads are well maintained; many of motorways are toll road. France like any country has road rules which drivers, even temporary visitors, must carry out.
  • Traffic keeps to the right side of the road.
  • In France, minimum driving age is 18 years. It is forbidden to drive to persons less than 18 even they have driving permits issued by their home countries. To rent a car, visitor must be 20 years or older and be holder a driving permit for at least one year.
  • Distance and speeds are given in kilometers per hour (km/h).
  • In towns, the speed limit is 50km/h, on open roads, 80-100km/h, and on motorways 110-130km/h.
  • There is not a specific speed-restriction sign at the entrance to a town or village. The name board (a white background with dark blue letters) indicates a built-up area where a speed limit is 50 km/h. There are often police speed cameras in villages because drivers forget to slow down.
  • It is forbidden to have any radar detection equipment, whether or not it is used.
  • It is prohibit travelling in the front seat to children under 10 years of age.
  • Allowable blood-alcohol levels are .05%.
  • Using the horn is only acceptably in an emergency.
  • Seatbelts for a driver and everyone in the car are required. A crash helmet is required for riding a motorcycle.
  • That is not allowed to use cell phone while driving. Hands-free use of mobile phones is not illegal.
  • Children under 10 years must ride in a child or booster seat in the back seat. Babies (under 13 kg) are allowed to travel in the front passenger seat placed in an approved rear-facing baby seat when the airbag is turned off. Children from 9 kg to 18 kg must be seated in a special child seat, from 15 kg to 10 years can use a booster seat with a seat belt or a harness.
  • France has following road numbering: “A” roads are motorways (Autoroutes), “N” roads are strategic trunk routes (the National network), and “D” roads are roads whose upkeep the local Department pays. European route numbers (a white number on a green background) are in addition to the French road numbers.
  • Every weekend from 10 p.m Saturday to 10 p.m Sunday, heavy goods vehicles (HGV) over 7.5 tonnes are banned on the French motorways and roads.
  • From early July to middle August, HGV are banned Saturday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., then between Saturday 10 p.m. and Sunday 10 p.m.
  • HGV are also banned on public holidays from 10 p.m the night before to 10 p.m on the holiday.
  • It is not allowed the right turns on a red light.
  • If you don’t have the yellow diamond sign on your road, you must give way to cars coming out from the right.
  • Lights have a yellow phase and switch from green-to yellow-to red. Driver may pass through on a yellow light if he is not able to stop safely. Traffic lights go directly from red to green.
  • Parking restrictions are strictly enforced.
  • Bus lanes are only for buses, taxis, and bicycles.
  • In Paris you don’t need a car; you can use the subway system. But, if you want to see true France in the countryside, you should drive.

Places to Visit

  • Dunkirk ferry port
  • Pidou cash and carry


A detailed route showing where we went overlanding and exploring. We jotted down the routes we travelled on a physical map which travelled with us from Australia to the UK, then transferred this to a digital form using Google Maps (KML and GeoRSS Layers) 

These are exact appropriations, maps differ between brands and converting from paper to digital may lose some details in translation. This should still show in great detail our route.